Developed by a team of faculty and research staff at UMass Boston’s
New Tool Measures Income Adequacy
The Elder Index benchmarks basic cost-of-living for elder households and illustrates how cost-of-living varies geographically and are based on the characteristics of elder households, including household size, ownership or renter status, and health status. The costs are based on market costs for basic needs of elder households and do not assume any public supports beyond
The gerontology researchers had four major findings:
1. Throughout the United States, neither income at the federal poverty level nor the average
2. Housing costs (mortgage or rent, taxes, utilities, insurance) are the greatest expense for most elder households, representing as much as half of the total expenses. Researchers found a wide variation in costs across the country. Depending on whether elders rent or own and where they live, renters could be paying upwards of
3. The Elder Index shows the significance of healthcare costs for elders who purchase supplemental health and prescription drug coverage through
4. Elders’ changing circumstances may create a situation where the elder was once meeting the expenses but can no longer do so. The death of a spouse or the decline in one’s health can seriously affect their income levels.